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Collaborative Virtual Reality system for urban environments

INESC TEC develops a virtual reality system for collaborative urban environments.

Virtual Reality Systems (VR) can be used in an extremely effective way in applications such as urban planning and management, virtual tourism, cultural heritage, education and training, among others. This is due to the fact that the 3D model is a natural metaphor for interaction with urban environments. Moreover, its high complexity often requires the participation of several actors who really profit from an interaction in a collaborative environment, similarly to the Wiki concept.

Using its expertise in this area, INESC TEC developed a collaborative system that provides a more natural and intuitive interface for providing diversified services on urban environments - a Wiki for 3D urban environments.

The interface is based on virtual environments composed of three-dimensional models of objects that populate it. In order to increase the effectiveness of user involvement, the system is characterised by an immersive virtual environment offering services and promoting cooperative work. Thus, contemplating and corporate citizenship activities, the system promotes cultural and natural heritage, and enhances collaboration and data sharing among citizens.

The 3D modelling of virtual urban environments poses a number of challenges in the context of computer graphics, since the amount of information needed to create realistic models depends on the size and complexity of the model area. Although there are some case models manually created by modelling each of the individual components, the procedural modelling of virtual urban environments has proven to be much more efficient, being able to reduce the duration, cost and allocation of resources. And therein lies one of the gains of the project.

Furthermore, information on the urban environment is generally dispersed and structured in a diverse way. To solve the problems associated with this issue, the project proposes a unified information model that adapts the concepts and characteristics of urban reality, and a set of tools that enables a semi-automatic mapping of available data sources for the information model developed.

Project Leader: INESC TEC


  • FEUP
  • UTAD

Contacts:  António Augusto de Sousa and António Coelho



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